|Publication number||US7134140 B2|
|Application number||US 09/963,811|
|Publication date||Nov 7, 2006|
|Filing date||Sep 27, 2001|
|Priority date||Sep 27, 2001|
|Also published as||US20030061509|
|Publication number||09963811, 963811, US 7134140 B2, US 7134140B2, US-B2-7134140, US7134140 B2, US7134140B2|
|Inventors||Lee Adam Fisher|
|Original Assignee||Mcafee, Inc.|
|Export Citation||BiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan|
|Patent Citations (10), Referenced by (10), Classifications (13), Legal Events (4)|
|External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet|
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to the field of data processing systems. More particularly, this invention relates to data processing systems in which a plurality of machines are connected together via a network.
2. Description of the Prior Art
In many known computer networks, a person wishing to connect to such a network makes a DHCP (dynamic host configuration protocol) request for an IP address to any of the network's DHCP servers. The DHCP server leases IP addresses to machines on demand. The IP address leased is based on the range that is configured within the DHCP server settings. For example, an IP address may be made up of four elements, three of the elements being used to represent a particular office location, so that the router can tell where the machine is, and the fourth element distinguishing the actual machine from the other machines. Thus, in this example there would potentially be 256 possible addresses per office. In reality, some of these addresses may be reserved and used exclusively for a particular task, a gateway (such as a router), for example, could always end in a .252 address and a DHCP server could always end with a .10 address. The remaining addresses are allocated on demand to machines wishing to connect to the network.
On receipt of an IP address request the DHCP server replies by asking the machine making the request its name. If it has a name corresponding to an IP address that no other machine is using at present, then the DHCP server gives this IP address back to the machine, if not, an unused addresses is allocated. The DHCP server leases these IP addresses and when a machine disconnects from the network, the address is “given back” to the DHCP server so that it can be allocated to another machine trying to connect to the network.
In this known system, the DHCP server does not make any check on the user credentials at the time of the request, the responsibility of authentication is left to the network operating systems.
A current process of authenticating a user within, for example, the Microsoft™ NT Networking design does not allow an administrator to validate “what or who” has access to the network, it rather controls access to network resources. For example, a third party consultant with a laptop computer can simply request an IP address from a DHCP server on the network, and be provided with an address based on the network location to which the request came. Of course, once an IP address has been provided to the consultant he/she can now attempt to ‘logon’ to the network in the traditional way. Our consultant may not know of a user account to authenticate to the network, and proceeds to connect to the network by logging into the laptop locally. Even though the consultant has no access to network resources he/she is still capable of ‘sniffing’ (packet capturing) data from the corporate network, and can also connect to resources which require ‘null’ access (null session shares etc.).
Viewed from one aspect the present invention provides, a computer program product comprising a computer program operable to control a server computer, said computer program comprising: (i) address provision logic operable to control said server computer to provide an address for accessing a network to a client computer, in response to a request for an address from said client computer; (ii) token validation logic operable in response to said provision of said address to control said server computer to contact said client computer at said address and to detect a presence of a predefined token on said client computer.
Thus, the provision of an address triggers the server computer to check for a token on the client computer. The server computer is therefore able to make a check on what or who is connected to the network at the point of address provision. This means that the network is able to perform machine validation, for example, at the initial point of contact between a machine and a network. This is an extremely powerful tool for providing network administrators with access control. Once an administrator knows that a new machine has connected to the network then something can be done about it. Finding unknown machines is a difficult and tedious task that otherwise would need to be undertaken often.
Preferably, said token validation logic is operable to control said server computer to check whether said detected predefined token is valid.
Thus, in addition to confirming the presence of a token, the properties of a token can be monitored to see if it is valid or not. Thus, information such as an expiry date or a version number can be carried on the token thereby providing more sophisticated access control.
In some embodiments, the token validation logic is operable to control said server computer to revoke said address from said client computer if said token is not detected or is not valid, alternatively or additionally said token validation logic is operable to control said server computer to record machine data from said client computer if said token is not detected and/ or to signal to said client computer that access has been denied if said token is not detected.
The absence of a token on the client computer can trigger the server computer to perform different tasks. For example the address can be revoked, thereby preventing any further communication between the client computer and the network; machine data can be recorded from the client computer so that the network administrator can be made aware of the nature of the machine trying to connect to the network; and if access is to be denied, this can be signalled to the client computer.
In some embodiments, said predefined token indicates the presence of software allowing remote configuration of said client computer and in preferred embodiments if said token is not detected said token validation logic is operable to control said server computer to install said remote configuration software on said client computer.
The presence of such software allows the operator to standardise the configuration of the client computer to be compatible with network standards, for example, to have the required anti-virus software present on the machine. The ability to install such software if it is not present allows machines that would otherwise not be permitted to connect to the network, to be connected thereto.
In some embodiments, said predefined token indicates the presence of antivirus software on said client computer. The use of such a token enables a network to stop any machine not protected by anti-virus software from connecting to the network, or in other embodiments, it allows the operator to be notified of the presence of the machine.
In some embodiments, said server computer comprises a DHCP server and said address comprises an IP address.
In most network systems, any new machine wishing to connect to the network must request an IP address from a DHCP server, thus, by providing a DHCP server with a computer program product according to an embodiment of the invention any new machine wishing to access the network can be checked for the presence of a token.
In other embodiments, said address provision logic is operable to control said server computer to request an address from a further server computer and to provide said address to said client computer, preferably, said further server computer is a DHCP server and said address comprises an IP address.
Thus, a further server can act to intercept any address request by a client and it can make the request itself, pass on the address and perform a check for a token. This enables the token check to be performed without any change being made to any DHCP server.
The predefined token can comprise almost anything, for example, it may comprise a computer file or files, a smart card, or data identifying a hardware component of said client computer.
Further aspects of the present invention are set out in the appended claims.
The above, and other objects, features and advantages of this invention will be apparent from the following detailed description of illustrative embodiments which is to be read in connection with the accompanying drawings.
In other embodiments, in addition to locating the token, details of the token, such as an expiry date, or version number can be read and checked against stored data, so that the token can be validated.
In the embodiment of
In one embodiment the token is the ePolicy Orchestrator agent which indicates the presence of McAfee anti virus software. This ePolicy Orchestrator agent uses a 64 bit PGP signature and it is this that is checked for. Thus, by checking for this token the network is able to ensure that no machine that is not suitably protected from viruses is allowed to connect to the network. If the software is found, then the process ends. If it is not found, then the network access authenticator attempts to install it on the client computer, this starts the process of that machine being protected. If it cannot install it then it creates an entry in the ePO tree (logged) of an “unmanaged machine”, and it passes the IP address, user, domain and machine name to the operator. Alternatively, the network access authenticator may simply act to revoke the IP address and deny network access to the client computer.
Although illustrative embodiments of the invention have been described in detail herein with reference to the accompanying drawings, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to those precise embodiments, and that various changes and modifications can be effected therein by one skilled in the art without departing from the scope and spirit of the invention as defined by the appended claims.
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|U.S. Classification||726/9, 726/14, 709/245|
|International Classification||G06F11/30, G06F15/16, G06F21/00, H04L9/00, H04L29/06|
|Cooperative Classification||G06F2221/2129, H04L63/0853, G06F21/31|
|European Classification||G06F21/31, H04L63/08E|
|Sep 27, 2001||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: NETWORKS ASSOCIATES TECHNOLOGY, INC., CALIFORNIA
Free format text: ASSIGNMENT OF ASSIGNORS INTEREST;ASSIGNOR:FISHER, LEE ADAM;REEL/FRAME:012207/0386
Effective date: 20010920
|Aug 1, 2005||AS||Assignment|
Owner name: MCAFEE, INC.,CALIFORNIA
Free format text: MERGER;ASSIGNOR:NETWORKS ASSOCIATES TECHNOLOGY, INC.;REEL/FRAME:016593/0812
Effective date: 20041119
|May 5, 2010||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 4
|Mar 20, 2014||FPAY||Fee payment|
Year of fee payment: 8